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Tell Me How It Ends
An Essay in 40 Questions
Valeria Luiselli
read on December 24, 2020

This was an interesting essay on the immigration crisis in Central America, and more specifically how the US is reacting to it. The book focuses on child immigrants who are generally fleeing CA countries (south of Mexico), primarily from gang violence. Luiselli very briefly tells a few stories of the travel experience across Mexico (coyotes hired to help ferry children across the region, riding la bestia across Mexico alone), and then the experience in the USA. Generally, in the US children immediately turn themselves in to border patrol (rather than risk dying in the southwest desert). They are put into ICE boxes, then usually joined with a guardian, and then await immigration trial. The bulk of the essay has to do with the hardship that these children face during these trials, and how difficult it often is for them to secure a lawyer in the US willing to defend them (often for free), particularly if they can't produce physical evidence of the violence they are trying to flee from (e.g. a police report from their home country, which most cannot). Luiselli and her daughter are volunteer translators for the children.

Obviously, this isn't anywhere near comprehensive either as a description of current immigration practices, or of the immigrant experience. It isn't meant to be. Nor does it propose any kind of policy prescription. But it is a compelling and deeply human set of anecdotes that clearly illustrate the problem.

Author Bio:

ALERIA LUISELLI was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; and, most recently, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. She is the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and an American Book Award, and has twice been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kirkus Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney’s, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in New York City.